LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday acquitted Sohail Zia Butt, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz member and brother-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, of corruption charges made by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). NAB had filed a reference against Butt on the complaint of the National Industrial Cooperative Finance Corporation (NICFC) manager. According to the reference, the NICFC had made an agreement with Butt to clear a building on The Mall, Ahmed Mansion, of its illegal occupants. The corporation paid Butt Rs2 million and agreed a profit-sharing deal for the funds generated from the building that they planned to buy, but Butt did not fulfill his part of the agreement. In 2001, an accountability court convicted Butt in absentia and sentenced him to three years in prison besides declaring him a proclaimed offender. The conviction was set aside under the National Reconciliation Ordinance, but reinstated after the ordinance was struck down by the courts. In September 2011, Butt was arrested and sent to jail for three years. The LHC released him on bail on October 11, 2011 and suspended his sentence.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.